Friday, February 17, 2006

Unriddling Spoolies and Noxema

Liz, blogging from Wales, posits the following: "What are spoolies and Noxema, maryb?" in reference to my little blog-explanation (see left). The short answer, Liz? Spoolies and Noxema are relics from my childhood.

When I started blogging, one of my first posts was about Spoolies. Here's the scoop: Spoolies were little pink (blue, peach), round, rubbery spools that our mothers insisted on using to curl our hair when we were kids. They made your hair really, really curly - in an 80-year-old lady way - and that's the way our mamas liked it in the early 1960s. We looked hideous. Ten years later, though, when springy, curly hair and short-short skirts were the rage, college girls could get the curly-headed model look by using spoolies (we did it better than our mamas and looked more like 5-year-olds instead of old ladies). I notice that now there are electric spoolies - which frightens me in some primal way that I can't quite put my finger on. Electric spoolies - yikes! How curly do you want your hair?

Noxema is a skin cream that we used on our faces, though most of us connect the cream with sunburn. Back in the days when nobody worried much about the sun except "Are we getting enough?" nice red, par-boiled skin was a good thing. Except that it hurt. That's where Noxema came in. Slather the stuff on and it cools your sunburn instantly. The very smell of Noxema - to this day - smells of a summer evening after a day at the swimming pool and red, glowing skin. If we got a good (bad?) sunburn, we'd go around for days with a dab of Noxema on our noses. There a great scene in Ya-Ya Sisterhood where Sandra Bullock goes to the bathroom and finds a blue jar of Noxema. She dabs the cream on her nose and is transported back to a summer night when she was a kid. Exactly. You can also wash your face with Noxema rather than soap. Mmmm. The smell.

You didn't ask about slumber parties, Liz. First, they were all "party" and very little "slumber." And they were where we learned all the enduring lessons of life. I'll have to post on my Slumber Party Life Theory another time. There are no slumber parties anymore - they're called "sleep-overs" now, not nearly as fraught with fun as "slumber party" to my mind. And since kids in this day and age already know everything by the time they're 6, I don't know how many life lessons are learned at a sleep-over.

Anything to add on the Spoolie-Noxema-slumber party-front, my little Fritos?


Joy Des Jardins said...

Oh my lord...what a rush! I vaguely remember Spoolies, but I certainly remember using Noxema...used it every night. I have to agree...those Spoolies made curls that I swear would last forever. I actually used the spongier kind, that were just as bad; or the bristly ones that were uncomfortable and left indentations on your scalp. Anything for beauty, huh?

petercmoore said...

This makes 3 posts in a row which I feel totally unable to comment on.

So what am I doing here now, then?

Is this a paradox?

CHICO: Hey! I gotta paradox. They's on my para feet under my para shoes.

Liz Hinds said...

I was 'blessed' with naturally curly hair that I have spent my entire life trying to straighten. Except for the occasional moments when I've gone curly-perm-mad and regretted it instantly.

Oh, yes, the sunburn. So proud of it. Especially if you could be first in the class to 'go for the burn', in an entirely different way from the way Jane Fonda meant in he exercise videos! We used Calamine lotion, a very distinctive-smelling liquid that dried leaving a pale pink coating on your arms, nose, back, and cracked when you moved. Aah, happy days before we knew too much.

Slumber parties? I've seen Grease!

Anonymous said...

I was led over here by a young lady on Live Journal who was looking for those little spoolies.

I've certainly enjoyed reading up to here and, just think, that's only the last two weeks!

Anonymous said...

I have been searching for years for spoolies. Two weeks ago while at a little church run thrift shop I found 2 bags of what was labeled hair spools. They are exactly like spoolies! Bags have never been opened. Spoolies look brand new. Well I had to open one bag and try them out. Low and behold my poker straight hair had spiral curls. It really took me back.

3girlsmomma said...

I love Spoolies too! My hair is dreadlocked...and Spoolies make a wonderfully tight curl.

Check the Vermont Country Store for Spoolies or any OTHER hard to find items from bygone eras. They even take suggestions for your old favorites to be featured in there catalog. Here's the link for Spoolies.

Would someone tell me if the peach colored Spoolies are smaller than the blue or larger than the pink ones?? With my locs I'm seeking the largest size they make.

Do tell...

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've been looking for Spoolies for years now!I thought everyone else forgot about them. Try going to the neighborhood beauty supply and asking for Spoolies. They look at you as if you have 3 heads.I'm going to check the Vermont Store.

Deb said...

Can you have forgotten about onion soup dip and chips!!!??? We could never have a slumber party without that special dip made from Lipton's dried onion soup mixed into a container of sour cream and slathered up with a Ruffles Potato Chip. Even today, when I nostalgically drive by the chips aisle (with age comes the no chips diet...), I think of that onion dip. The dip, coupled with no sleep and concocting "adventures" all night made for a miserable follow-up day. It was so much fun!

Anonymous said...

In doing my research, I came upon Tangee lipstick- remember the smell and the fact that it changed color? Vermont Country store has it, but not at Woolworth's prices

MaryB said...

Yes, I think you're right. I do seem to remember that Tangee went on one color then changed to another. Wonder how old that lipstick is that the Vermont Store has? ;-)